Saturday 28 November 2015

Hector Acero Ferrer at Massey College in Toronto

Last month Junior Member Hector Acero Ferrer participated in the panel “Bridging the Divisions: Interfaith Dialogue Through Social Activism”, an event organized by Massey College at the University of Toronto. This panel was an opportunity to discuss diverse ways in which religious traditions approach interfaith dialogue and social justice work. In his presentation, Hector argued that Christianity's understanding of mission is rooted in a call to dialogue and engagement with humanity as opposed to a forceful proclamation of doctrine to non-Christians.

Junior Members in Rhode Island

Junior Members Dean Dettloff and Jonathan Polce will be presenting papers during the weekend of December 5 and 6 at the St. Nicholas of Myra Conference on Catholic Social Thought in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dean’s paper is titled "Catholic Air Conditioning: Laudato Si' and the Overcoming of Phenomenology." Jon will present "Overlooked message: Pope Francis' Call to Transform Hearts at the center of Laudato Si."

Dean Dettloff’s Thesis Defense

Junior Member Dean Dettloff will be defending his MA thesis on December 15. His thesis is titled “From Cynical Reason to Spiritual Creativity: An Exercise in Religious Anthropodicy.” Dean's thesis is an analysis of the thought of Peter Sloterdijk in particular his early description of the emergence of cynical reason as a post critical cultural and theoretical orientation to the world that is inoculated against any and all forms of Enlightenment criticism, and his later turn to religion as the site par excellence in which we human beings give an account of ourselves and our right to be in the world (a project he calls anthropodicy). Dean suggests that Sloterdijk's philosophy of religion would benefit from the spiritual and indeed Christian theory of creativity elaborated by the early twentieth century Russian thinker Berdaev. Indeed he sees real promise in Sloterdijk's notion of anthropodicy when supplemented with the radical religious openness of Berdaev's creativity.

Tricia Van Dyk Dissertation

Junior Member Tricia Van Dyk has successfully completed her doctoral dissertation in the conjoint PhD degree program offered by ICS and the VU University Amsterdam. The dissertation is titled “Narrative Companionship: Philosophy, Gender Stereotypes, and Young Adult Literature.” Tricia will defend her dissertation in Amsterdam on March 17. Her supervisors are Lambert Zuidervaart (ICS) and A. W. (Bert) Musschenga (VU). Congratulations, Tricia!

Friday 27 November 2015

The Prince of Peace now lives with us!

As we gather with family, friends and strangers to celebrate the coming of Jesus, we remember how greatly God loves the world, and the hope and joy such love brings.

May our Lord fill your life with love, joy, hope, and peace this Christmas–and always!

Hearing God in Scripture

South African Anglican priest Craig Bartholomew, who directs the St. George's Centre for Biblical and Public Theology (Burlington) and is H. Evan Runner professor of philosophy at Redeemer University College, has produced an important new book, Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics, A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture (Baker Academic, 2015, xiv-623).

Bartholomew spent a year at ICS in the mid-90s before he went on to achieve his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol (1997), United Kingdom. He has written numerous other books and articles.

This new book is incredibly rich in scholarship, teeming with apt comments by Augustine, Barth, Bavinck, Bonhoeffer, George Steiner, Gadamer, Habermas, Newbigin, Henri Nouwen, Magrassi and countless others, but the insights are digested and presented conversationally. The truly encyclopedic character of this “Introduction” is subordinated to its key point: biblical hermeneutic scholarly studies should be enveloped in the prayerful reading of the Bible.

Bartholomew challenges theologians and academic analytic interpreters of the Holy Scriptures to ground their work within the simple act of listening to God speak in Scripture and then, first of all, responding on their knees, as it were, while expositing the text. His book is dedicated to Cal and Ines Seerveld.

Craig Bartholomew
Cal Seerveld

Thursday 26 November 2015

Prayer Letter: December 2015

Tuesday, December 1:  Clinton Stockwell reminds us of the many challenges we see around us, including poverty and violence, often stemming from human alienation and disenfranchisement. He invites us to pray for the in-breaking shalom of God, that faith communities everywhere will remember their deepest roots, that in the world, there will be peace, good will, and compassion for all who have need. Let us combine our deepest understandings with our most authentic practices of compassion and grace this Advent season.

Wednesday, December 2:   We praise God for our ICS supporting community. As we have visited and held get-togethers in different cities across the country, we have been encouraged and blessed by the commitment of these friends to the work of ICS. We have been lifted up by their generous support and thoughtful prayers.

Thursday, December 3:  We thank God for his sustaining grace as we make plans for the outworking of our new initiatives as outlined in the Annual Report. Pray that we will clearly hear his wisdom and discernment as we work together to accomplish these goals.

Friday, December 4:  Junior Members Dean Dettloff and Jonathan Polce will be presenting papers in Rhode Island this weekend. We pray for safe travel for everyone and fruitful interaction among them all.

Monday, December 7:  Junior Member Joonyong Um requests we pray that more brothers and sisters in Christ may come together to support and work for the precious vision of ICS in serving as Christ’s agents in healing and reforming the world.

Tuesday, December 8:   We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow. We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Wednesday, December 9:  Kevin Huinink, MA, requests that we pray for other ICS alumni as they forge ahead in the world looking for ways in which to make their learning come alive in their varied professions.

Thursday, December 10:  As the season of Advent continues, we pray for God's grace and guidance as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In Him, God is with us. Praise the Lord!

Friday, December 11:  The fall semester ends next week, but there is still much academic work to be done! Please pray for blessings and stamina for our Junior Members as they finish their course work and write their papers in the weeks ahead, and for our Senior Members as they give them feedback on their papers and prepare for their own teaching in the upcoming semester.

Saturday, December 12:   The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) climate summit in Paris has concluded. We pray for wisdom and guidance as the countries in attendance implement their individual environmental policies.

Monday, December 14:  On this day in 1935 the Association for Reformational Philosophy was officially founded. Our first faculty member, Senior Member Emeritus Henk Hart, always remembers this date, because he was born on the same day! They both turn 80! We offer prayers of thanks and congratulations!

Tuesday, December 15:  Please join with us in prayer for Junior Member Dean Dettloff as he defends his MA thesis this afternoon. May he be granted a clear mind and the words that fittingly reflect his understanding.

Wednesday, December 16:   Today is the last Academic Council meeting of the 2014 calendar year. We ask that the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom be present throughout all the discussions and the planning and tasks that follow from decisions made.

Thursday, December 17:   Today is the final day of classes for this semester. We ask you to join with us in thanking our Lord for another period of opportunities in which to learn in Christian academic community.

Friday, December 18:  This is a day of celebration for the gifts God has granted the semester just passed, including those of friendships formed and strengthened, and culminating in our Community Christmas Party! We thank God for a fruitful semester and look forward to an evening of joy, reflection, and humour. As our larger ICS family, will you please remember the on-campus community as we gather together in this informal mode.

Monday, December 21:  Many members of the ICS community will be travelling, some far and wide, over the holiday period. Please pray for their safe travel and for an uplifting and refreshing time with friends and family.

Tuesday, December 22:  We pray for the general well-being of ICS. We give thanks to our Lord and Saviour for our many, many faithful supporters, without whom we would not be able to fulfil our mission here at 229 College.

Wednesday, December 23:  God has provided us with all things richly to enjoy. Let us all give thanks to what God has bestowed as we look back at the marvels of the previous year.

Thursday, December 24:  Our Lord also strengthens and sustains us in times of suffering. We ask for God's help for those who are struggling with cancer, depression and the many other illnesses that may afflict us in this fallen world. We pray for strength, patience and effective treatment.

Friday, December 25:  Today we joyously celebrate the birth of He who is King of All and Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ! We offer prayers of thanks for this miraculous gift and pray that the love of Jesus will be shed abroad in the hearts of all.

Monday, December 28:  With the winter weather bringing colds and flu, please pray for the health of staff, faculty and students at ICS.

Tuesday, December 29:   We ask you to pray along with us that God, in his time and way, will abundantly provide the resources we need to continue our work in Christian higher education. Pray that ICS will find favour as we meet with those who will partner with us in this important mission.

Wednesday, December 30:   We pray for stamina and enthusiasm for Senior and Junior Members alike, who are preparing to start their new courses in January, and for our administrative colleagues whose selfless service enables us to function.

Thursday, December 31:  As 2015 draws to a close, we give thanks for another fruitful year of work at ICS and for all our supporters and friends who made that work possible through their prayers and financial gifts. We pray for God's blessings upon all the teaching and learning that will happen in the next year.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Autumn Perspective Now Available

Our latest issue of Perspective is now available online. To read, please go to

In the Autumn 2015 Issue:

"Healing as Teaching, Teaching for Healing", by ICS president Doug Blomberg.

"Lessons from a Not So Vacant Lot", by Rachel McGuire, ICS graduate and consultant with Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

"What Are You Doing Here?", six current students on how and why they are studying at ICS.

"The Rose (and God) is Without ‘Why’", by Joshua Harris, ICS PhD student.

"Finding Ways to Give Back", by Matt Bonzo, ICS graduate and Director of the Institute for Christianity and Cultural Engagement, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Annual General Meeting: Tuesday November 24

All ICS members are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, November 24 at 7:00 pm in the classroom here at ICS. Materials are being distributed.

Meeting God: the Relay Race of Generations

Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld has a two page article titled “Meeting God: the Relay Race of Generations” in the current issue of Christian Courier (no. 3019 October 26, 2015).

Prayer Letter: November 2015

Monday, November 2:   Please pray for the ICS Board recruitment process, that committed and able candidates for Board vacancies will be offered to the ICS membership for approval later this month.

Tuesday, November 3:  Please join with us in thankfulness for the opportunities enjoyed by Director of Advancement Pat Webb and President Doug Blomberg during their trip to Western Canada last week. Doug was able to meet with senior administrators at The King's University and Ambrose University in Alberta, then at Trinity Western University in British Columbia. The purpose of these meetings was to explore possibilities for partnering relationships. These were very hospitable and fruitful conversations.

Wednesday, November 4:  Last week our Director of Advancement Pat Webb flew straight to BC, where she met with a number of supporters one-on-one. Last Thursday evening, Pat and Doug met with twenty enthusiastic long-term supporters gathered at Fleetwood CRC. Very good questions were asked and a vigorous discussion was enjoyed. In conclusion, there was and strong affirmation of the vision and mission of ICS and a call for everyone to be steadfast in prayer for ICS. We thank you that for being our prayer partners!

Thursday, November 5:   Today we pray for the work of Senior Members. Bless their ongoing tasks, both administrative and academic. Give them the relief they need when things pile up.

Friday, November 6:  We offer prayers of gratitude for the many people who have given ICS gifts of prayers, money, concern and appreciation. It is truly a blessing to have the interest and support of so many people.

Saturday, November 7:  This afternoon, President Doug Blomberg represents ICS at the University of St Michael's College Convocation of the Faculty of Theology and Continuing Education. Such gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to interact with representatives of TST schools and other institutions. Please pray for Doug's engagement with colleagues in what we trust will be a joyous time of celebration for all.

Monday, November 9:  We ask for God's blessing on Ed Hayley, Director of Finance and his team, who are planning the Annual General Meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 24. We pray for energy and enthusiasm for all who are involved.

Tuesday, November 10:   We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Wednesday, November 11:  Today we observe Remembrance Day in Canada. We are reminded of the wars that continue to rage and the soldiers and civilians who continue to suffer around the world. We pray for peace.

Thursday, November 12:  We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Bob Sweetman as he continues in his role as Academic Dean.

Friday, November 13:   Many of our Junior Members are working on their their Masters and PhD thesis projects. We pray for our Junior Members and ask that they will have time, focus and wisdom.

Monday, November 16:  We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Tuesday, November 17:  Today we offer prayers for the general well-being of the ICS. We ask for blessings and energy for ICS faculty and staff as they work together.

Wednesday, November 18:  The Academic Council meets this afternoon. We ask for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Thursday, November 19:  President Doug Blomberg will be visiting Dordt College for two days. This afternoon he will speak with two Philosophy of Education classes. Between these sessions, he will meet with supporters at Chancellor John and Sanneke Kok's home. Please pray Doug will interact effectively with students and that there will be a goodly number of supporters in attendance for the latter gathering.

Friday, November 20:  President Doug Blomberg will be visiting with ICS donors this morning. At 4:00 p.m., he will present a public lecture, to be followed by a public reception. We ask the Lord to bless these visits and events and that his return home tomorrow will go smoothly.

Saturday, November 21:  Senior Member Rebekah Smick will represent ICS at the Regis College Convocation this morning. Regis is the Jesuit Graduate Faculty of Theology at the University of Toronto. As noted earlier in the month with respect to the USMC Convocation, this too is a great chance to talk with colleagues from TST schools. Please pray for this significant event and Rebekah's involvement in it.

Monday, November 23:  There is a Board Meeting today. We pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Tuesday, November 24:  The Board is meeting all day today. Please uphold Trustee Peter Brouwer in prayer; he is sadly and regretfully unable to join us for this meeting due to a medical condition and we ask you to uphold him in prayer, that the Lord might bring him comfort and healing.
This evening ICS will hold its Annual General Meeting, where members will elect new Board members and conduct the annual required business for ICS. We are extremely grateful for our committed and hard working Board members. Please pray for wisdom and guidance at this meeting.

Wednesday, November 25:  We offer prayers of thanks for all the hard work done by the outgoing Board members. We ask God for wisdom and energy for the incoming Board members.

Thursday, November 26:  Today we pray for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We ask God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Friday, November 27:  We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Monday, November 30:  Please pray for the Institute and the continued mission of ICS. To be even more specific, we ask that you pray with us that we have good responses to our donor appeals in the remaining weeks of 2015.